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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 12, 2016 03:31 PM
From: Representative Karen Boback
To: All House members
Subject: Dedicated Funding for Tourism Marketing, Museums and the Arts
I am planning to re-introduce legislation (formerly HB 641) from last session, which dedicates a portion of the 6 percent state hotel occupancy tax to support tourism marketing, museums and the arts.

As you probably know, tourism is Pennsylvania’s second largest industry, with a total economic impact of $41 billion. However, did you know that because of recent budget cuts to state programs designed to attract visitors, combined with aggressive marketing campaigns by other states such as New York and New Jersey (not to mention the well-crafted commercials and hard copy media used to recruit visitors to other states and destination spots around the world), Pennsylvania has fallen from the fourth most visited state in the union to the seventh.

We currently collect a 6 percent sales tax on hotel stays. Right now that money is directed into the general budget, while the tourism line item has been drastically decreased over the last decade. What’s wrong with this picture? We need a dedicated funding stream to ensure the success of the tourism industry. We can no longer afford to lose out on tourism dollars. In this case, it takes money to make money.

This legislation will dedicate the revenue from 1 percentage point of the 6 percent state tax on hotel stays to bring more tourists to Pennsylvania. Sixty percent of the revenue would go to promote and market Pennsylvania to out-of-state visitors, with the remaining 40 percent earmarked to fund established state grant programs for the many local museums and arts and cultural organization that tourists come to see. Basically, the bill leverages the money generated by tourists to further promote and market tourism in the state while at the same time creating and maintaining jobs.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1222